Genetics of Silver Labs

Discussion in 'Labrador breeding & genetics' started by justin1975, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. justin1975

    justin1975 Registered Users

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    I am looking into breeding silver labs and have been doing research on genetics. I have seen charts that show the possibility of colors from the different gene crossing of parents except for the silver. Do I need to know gene makeup of the dogs I buy for breeding and is that something sellers know when you buy them, or do I just need to get each parent in a silver color and that would be the best possibility for silver puppies in the litters? Thanks for any help
     
  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Hi Justin and welcome to the forum.

    If you are interested in breeding for a specific colour then you do want to know whether the parent dogs are carrying that colour. The version of the dilution gene that produces the silver colour is recessive in nature. That means that, to appear silver, a dog needs to have two copies of that version of the gene - one from each parent. Dogs can still carry one copy of the gene and will not appear silver - but mated to another carrier they may produce silver pups. As a minimum you need two parents who are each carrying at least one copy of the dilution gene.

    There's another complication which is that 'silver' means a chocolate Labrador with two of the dilution genes. Dilution genes combined with a black or yellow Labrador will give a different result. So you would actually be wanting chocolate Labradors who are each carrying at least one copy of the dilution gene.

    Basically the short story is that getting silver parents will be the best way to guarantee silver pups.

    Here is an article that explains some of the genetics and also the various views out there about the origins of silver in Labradors: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/silver-labradors/

    And here's an article with a few things to consider before making the call to breed from a dog: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-breeding-should-you-let-your-dog-have-puppies/
     
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  3. Jojo83

    Jojo83 Registered Users

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    You would also need to check with the breeder about breeding from their puppy as it is not unusual for restrictions to be placed on litters of puppies. You would also want to have some reassurance that your puppy would show good conformation to pass on to offspring and have good health test results.
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Hi there, I take it you do not own any labradors at present, and so are going into this as a complete novice? I am sure you are aware that silver is not recognized as an official labrador colour, and also that generally speaking the aim of pedigree dog breeding should be to improve the breed (i.e. health, temperament, and conformation to breed standard). I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you are going about this from a different viewpoint - i.e. primarily with a mind to making money.

    I was intending to breed from my yellow female, and I can tell you it cost me more money and time than I like to think about. The health tests (hips, elbows, eyes, genetic testing), the conformation to breed standard test, the searching for a suitable male (all Labradors are related, and it is a minefield to find the right one, who isn't too closely related, but who has the right attributes), the working tests, application for a kennel name, having my dog finally accepted as a breeding bitch... It cost many, many hundreds of pounds, and I certainly would not have made a penny from a first litter from her. In the end I decided not to breed from her, as she had a couple of seizures, and as a responsible breeder I could not have countenanced passing that genetic risk on to her puppies.

    Rather than looking to purchase two 'silver' Labradors to breed, it would be best to try and get one really good dog from an excellent background, then either show or work that dog, and achieve some success, before even considering breeding...
     
  5. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute Forum Supporter

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    To add to what Karen said, many puppy buyers look very hard at the Field or Show accomplishments of the parents before selecting a pup. When you spend a lot of money on a pup, and a lot more raising and taking care of it, you might as well start with a very good one, that fits what you want. Example for our last two pups, Tilly's Dad was field Trial Champion and her mom was a Master Hunter. Cooper's Dad was a Master Hunter and her mom a Senior Hunter. Even though I did not plan to compete, and probably wasn't going to hunt them, I still wanted the assurance that they were from bred for purpose dogs, with the drive, trainability, and athletic ability that a good retriever should have.

    I don't think most breeders make much money doing it, and I believe the ones that do moderately well also either show their dogs, or train theirs and others for field/hunting competition.
     
  6. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Yes - or do it unethically :(

    I would absolutely echo that the only good reason to breed pedigree dogs is in order to improve the breed. Breeding for colour alone is not ethical.
     
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  7. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I think it unethical to breed only for colour is unethical. What market are you aiming for?
     
  8. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    The price for a silver is over 2 grand now. So there's motivation for some.
     
  9. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    Maybe @Justin 75 was doing it out of the purest motives and didn't understand the ramifications? I remember buying my first Lab 11 years ago, I had him from a reputable sundog breeder, but I didn't know about all the health tests etc.
     

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